No less than 2 issues for the price of one this week incl. an x-tra In Da Mix delivery (#92) + the returns of our dearest Nippon Nik with his usual Japan Corner and ADN for some alternative sounds on The Other Side for our French speaking readers. Don’t forget our 2 new mixes courtesy of Chicagoan Julius the Mad Thinker and Rotax label head Pascal Rioux. On the 12’’ front, we have Jesse Outlaw providing us with the Single Of The Week, meanwhile Raw Artistic Soul provides us with our new Album Of The Month dubbed with some explanations on this week’s interview. And if that wasn’t enuff, we welcome IDMW.Com editorial team new member Céline making her official debut with a chat with UK based jock DJ Sosa of Huddersfield Soul Project.

NIPPON NIK CORNER

Konichiwa kiddies…. Well, by the time you get to see this page i’ll be back from my latest expedition to the land of the rising sun having been over to DJ & promote a new Japan only CD compilation called Nu Style for the Nuro label. nuro.jp that actually isn’t out till June ! It’s packed with exclusive tracks or edits never released before all from European artists. Can’t reveal too much as the tracklisting hasn’t yet been finalized but no doubt they’ll be more news soon in the next edition of the Nippon Nik column.

Japan is hotting up with the south of the Island basking in 70 degrees temperature but it seems that the earthquakes are getting more and more common now which gives something for the locals to concern themselves with….

Music wise lots is happening. Hajime Yoshizawa, the keys man with Kyoto Jazz Massive & Sleepwalker spent two weeks in April/May locked up in a London studio making tracks for a soul type project he’s recording for the Pioneer Label. Infamous characters seen coming out of his studio (actually the studio is actually below my office so it wasn’t exactly celebrity snooping ! ) sighted included Vanessa Freeman ,Chris Franck & Nina Miranda (Da Lata etc), Jason Yarde , Nathan Haines & Face. Ryota Nozaki (in other words, Jazztronik) & his vocalist Aya were also in London recording tracks for not one future album but two (!) on Tokuma. His current long player release for Pantone Samurai has had some great reviews

He told me me he’s got no less than… 60 demos he’s working on at the moment. Blimey said I ! Recently married, Aya has an album (that Ryota has a helping hand with)due at some point this year for the Gate label.

Pantone also plan to release albums from Japanese artists Jafrosax & Yukihiro Fukutomi in the summer and a Jazztronik single with a S.U.M.O. mix is out now along with a Fukutomi single ‘Equality’ featuring the dolcet tones of Rich Medina in original & Blackbeard mixes with another track ‘Road to Nowhere’ on the flipside. pantonemusic.com

On the mighty Especial Distribution label licenced via Tokuma Jazztronik gets remixed by Louie Vega for his ‘Madrugada’ track. Two remixes and two originals on the 12’’. This should be in those shops (you know the ones! ) by early June. If you have any trouble locating a copy of this (or any other Japanese 12’’ release for that matter), then email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and see what he finds. Speaking of Especial, Vanessa Freeman tells me that she will go to Japan in the summer to sing again for a repeat performance of the PLAY KJM party that rocked 2,000 people at YEBISU Garden Place last December. You might have read the piece that Bembe & Vanessa wrote about the gigs in Japan in the last issue of Straight No Chaser Magazine .

Jazzysport have been busy and there’s a flurry of 12’s due as I write.Apart from 2 Sa Ra 12’s with instrumentals there’s a couple of DJ Mitsu The Beats 12’s - one featuring Roddy Rod & Kev Brown, one 12’’ on PPP 12’’ on P Vine and an album I think through Ki/oon (sub label of Sony ) by Breakthrough -an outfit comprised of DSK Invisible,DJ Jin & Masaya Fantasista. The album is chokka bloc full of surprise guests including Bembe Segue, Count Bass D, Bahamadia, Maspyke, DJ Mitsu The Beats, Grap Luva, Mark De Clive Lowe, Jneiro Jarel, Amp Fiddler, Khemet and Pushim.

Masaya will be DJing at Onward International at Ruby Lo with Tokyo’s Jazzy Sport Stax Groove Dancers on June 30th with a big event in London Cargo on July 3rd. More gigs are planned in Amsterdam etc so maybe check the jazzysport website for more info or email me and I’ll share what I know.

One time K Creative & Galliano member and session musician supreme Ski Oakenfull released an album on Pony Cannon in March which is well worth checking out.skioakenfull.com. He tells me that at the moment the album is CD only .. Japan only at the moment but he’s talking with a UK label (I thought it could be Dome but Peter at Dome claims he’s not heard the album yet… ) It’s got Amp Fiddler on fine form on several tracks and also Earl Zinger & Valerie Etienne. Personally I think it’s really strong.

There’s a big buzz on The Soil & Pimp Horns at the moment .A few lucky people managed to get hold of the first 12’’ and there’s been a flurry of activity lately as UK national Radio Gilles Peterson has just discovered them. He called me with ‘so….er…what do you know about S&P then ?’ as he’d never come across them..I gave him the second 12’’ from the band called ‘Pimpmaster’ and he’s been caining it ever since. He loves them describing them as a cross between the Lounge Lizards and Sleepwalker. Some of you may have come across the Izanami 7’’ that featured them on the flipside and well worth searching out. therecordroom.co.uk. I haven’t heard Gilles enthusing about a jazz outfit like this for years and certainly there’s possibly a new Jazz (or Jazz influenced ) movement that seems to be happening not just in Japan with Sleepwalker, Soil & Pimp, Jazztronik, Izanami, Dazai Yuri,Ino Hidefumi & Sunaga T but all over the world…..For all our sakes lets hope so.

Another little 45 which caused quite a little stir which has been and gone is by a new artist from Fukuoka called Ino Hidefumi. He recently released a 45 with ‘Never can Say Goodbye’ flipped by Michael Jackson’s ‘Billy Jean’ but before you pass this by don’t sleep.Trust me ! Reggae drums kick off for dirty little rhodes instrumentals that really really work. Not exactly peak time fodder but you watch the headz when you drop this baby. Kinda in a Madlib style but in tune ! The label informs me there’s a new 45 from Ino Hidefumi dropping soon. Lastly just received is a funky little 45 from Scoobie Doo with a drum heavy funk version of ‘Tighten Up’. It’s actually really good if you just get through the Japanese vocals and myself & Jazzman Gerald agreed it passed the test (even if it was ‘ just’ ! ). It’s taken from the ‘Plus One More’ and the only way I can describe the album is think New Mastersounds + Japanese pop meets Japanese vocals. jvcmusic.co.jp/speedstar/

NIK WESTON NIPPON NIK’S MUKATSUKU CHART
01.Various - Nu Style - Nuro
02.Breakthrough - Breakthrough - Ki/Oon
03.Jazztronik - Madrugada - Louie Vega Mixes - Especial Distribution
04.Jazztronik - Close Journeys - Flower
05.Studio Apartment - Journey - NWR
06.Ski album - Pony Cannon
07.Scoobie Doo - Tighten Up - Speedstar
08.PPP -Stay With Me - DJ Mitsu the Beats Remix (CD-R)
09.Sa Ra - tracks… - Jazzy Sport
10.Himuki -The Trip - Grooveman Spot Remix - Trip Planet

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